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    • These all stood out for me in the last few years as being great books and well narrated (performed might be a better word):

      Sharpe's Tiger by Bernard Cornwell, narrated by Rupert Farley

      The Stand by Stephen King, narrated by Grover Gardner

      The Magus by John Fowles, narrated by Nicholas Boulton

      The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad, narrated by David Horovitch

      Dark Matter by Michelle Paver, narrated by Jeremy Northam

      Downward to the Earth by Robert Silverberg, narrated by Bronson Pinchot

      The Moor's Account by Laila Lalamy, narrated by Neil Shah

      Grendel by John Gardner, narrated by George Guidall

      Treasure Island by RL Stevenson, read by Robert Page

      The Dream Archipelago by Christopher Priest read by Michael Maloney

      Bird Box by Josh Malerman, narrated by Cassandra Campbell (better as audio than print, IMO)

    • Favorite Audiobooks? I've got quite a few.

      -City of Thieves by David Benioff. Narrated by Ron Perlman. The Story of a young man in WW2 struck Russia, tasked with getting a dozen eggs for a General's daughters wedding or suffer death. Quick read and hard to put down.

      -The Child Thief by Dan Smith. Narrated by Bronson Pinchot. Another story that takes place in Russia. This time it's between WW1 and WW2. The story revolves around a WW1 and Russian Civil War vet's niece is kidnapped from his village. He takes his two sons and his brother in law to try and track down the kidnapper in the Russian tundra. Wear a sweater when reading this book that was written in Cold-O-Vision.

      -Vertical Run by Joseph R. Garber. Narrated by Stephen Lang. Place a Vietnam Vet in a Die Hard-like situation, and you've got a very fun read. I read this when I was a teenager on the beach. (My Dad finished it and handed it to me afterwards.) Very enjoyable and I've listened to it many times.

      -The Life We Bury by Allen Eskins. Narrated by Zach Villa. A great mystery novel about a journalism student doing a report on a convicted felon in a nursing home. Make certain to also check out the recent sequel, The Shadows We Hide. Same author/narrator.

      -Speaks The Nightbird by Robert R. McCammon. It feels very much like Sleepy Hollow. The story revolves around a solicitor's apprentice. He and his solicitor have been summoned to a town where a woman is accused of being a witch and they must defend her. Very smartly written and, while a bit long, is thoroughly enjoyable. It's the beginning of a series, so buckle up for it's many sequels.

      -Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore. Narrated by Fisher Stevens. It's about Joshua Christ's missing thirty years from the bible, but told in such a humorous way. I went to a book signing and Mr. Moore said he expected a huge backlash to this book, since it covered a religious figure (and he's a buddhist), but that he received nothing but praise from all corners of the globe. A priest recommended it to my Mom (although she still refuses to read it). Very silly and fun.

      -Peter & Max: A Fables Novel by Bill Willingham. Narrated by Wil Wheaton. I've read all but the last chapter of the comic book series, but have read and re-read this story (also listened to) many times over. It has a comforting tone to me and I get more out of it each time. The story follows Peter Piper as he reflects on his life and his upcoming confrontation with his brother, Max, the vile Piper who rid Tucson of it's rats and children. Very well read and extremely well written.

      -14 by Peter Clines. Narrated by Ray Porter (possibly my favorite narrator). The less you know going into this one, the better. All I can say is it revolves around a mysterious building who's tenants are experiencing unusual happenings and investigating the source of it all. I've re-read this a few times now. Be sure to check out it's sorta sequel, The Fold.

      -A Higher Call by Adam Makos. Narrated by Robertson Dean. A German pilot does an act of bravery and humanity during a conflict that no one expected. A very heart-warming experience reading this one.

      This is but a few of my recommendations. Enjoy!

    • Just bought it based on your recommend. Had never heard of it.

      Looking at my Audible library for last year, I see that I bought 24 books but only listened to 10 to completion. My two favs were:

      Enlightenment Now by Steven PInker (long, listed all day while doing the Grand Canyon R2R2R hike).

      Wired for Story by Lisa Crohn (listened twice).

    • Bill Gates has a great and entertaining video of the 5 best reads of 2018 for the holidays:

      One of them Bad Blood by John Carreyrou I already finished listening to on Audible. It was damn fascinating and cautionary true story!

    • @itipmyhattoyou

      I have placed a hold on City of Thieves through my library audiobook app. The full description made me even more interested to get caught up in this story.


      I’ve placed a hold on Bad Blood and shared your recommendation with a friend who’s looking to pivot to another startup. Thank you!


      I think you’ll enjoy the book. It focuses on leadership where your decisions have a significant impact on the success and survival of your organization. As opposed to administrator roles where you have minimal autonomy in making decisions. Listening to this book helped me in deciding not to accept a management role two years ago because I knew I need greater authority over my area of responsibility than the role allowed.

      I’ve placed a hold on Enlightenment based on your recommendation. Not my typical read but (a) the full description was intriguing and (b) Cake is having a positive effect on wanting to broaden my world view.

    • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, read by Lindsay Duncan -- I just finished my approximately annual listen of this audiobook. Austen is difficult to get just right aloud: you have to have a feel for her dry humor, and be able to be true to the characters without making the annoying ones too much of a burden to the listener. I have audiobooks of all Austen’s finished novels, and this is my favorite narrator (as well as my favorite Austen novel!) Duncan does all of the above, and her Lizzie is perfect, smart and mischievous and warm.

      The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin, read by Robin Miles -- Speaking of favorite narrators, Robin Miles is my favorite audiobook reader of all time. Her accents and character voices are amazing, she has a beautiful voice, and she makes sentences intelligible as well as emotional. I first was blown away with Miles's work on the Nigerian historical epic Half of a Yellow Sun, and was so excited when I found out she was going to be reading this series, the Broken Earth trilogy by N.K. Jemisin. These books are set on a planet that is tectonically superactive: the 'Fifth Season' of the title is what the human inhabitants call a period of volcanic apocalypse -- often involving an ash-cloud winter. These Seasons interrupt and reset their civilization periodically, in different ways. Rules for surviving have been passed down as 'Stone Lore', and are almost the only history they have for sure past a certain point. Some humans are born with an ability to channel energy on a geological scale, but they're hated and feared by the others, especially since their powers untrained can easily save them from geological threats at the expense of those around them or nearby. When the books open, a civilization has lasted an unusually long time by training and enslaving these people to suppress earthquakes and volcanoes. The worldbuilding is intense and fascinating, and Jemisin's writing is always strong and evocative. These are the books that won her three 'Best Novel' Hugos in a row, an unheard of feat.

      Dracula by Bram Stoker, read by Fredric Scadron, Mary Beth Quillen Gregor, et al (unabridged Brilliance audio version with 5 readers) -- Dracula is cheesy, and you have to love this particular kind of Victorian cheese to love Dracula. The heroes are square and earnest, the underlying themes and fears are so 19th century (railroads, shorthand, and typewriters will save us from ancient magic!) This unabridged version embraces the cheese beautifully. The readers are earnest and well chosen, and they coordinate well, so a diary entry from Dr. Seward will be read complete with Van Helsing's lines in a good impression of the Van Helsing accent the other reader does. Dracula doesn't need bells and whistles and music: it needs to be a pile of diary entries, newspaper articles, and so on, performed with complete conviction. This is it, and I find it so much fun to return to again and again!

      A Tale for the Time Being, by Ruth Ozeki, read by the author -- Oh, this book. When I finished listening, I almost started over again immediately, because the book's voices had become my friend and I missed them already. My sister, who recommended the book, is aghast that I listened to it, missing out on the wealth of footnotes with which the print version is apparently enriched. But the author included an afterword on the audiobook about the differences, which encouraged me to see the two as both having their own special charms. I'll read the paper book too, eventually. This is a literary mystery, in a way: the first narrator, a writer living on a remote island, finds a teenage girl's diary in a lunchbox on the beach, apparently washed all the way from Japan. As she reads the diary, she becomes more worried about the girl's fate. That's the bare bones. The meat of the story is...the two voices, of the diary and of the finder; their observations and inquiries into the world, the things they learn and wonder. It was my favorite novel of 2017, and I read some doozies. It's about alienation and connection; language, Zen Buddhism, and crows. It's deep but intensely charming, and I can't wait to have the author speak it in my ear again someday.

      The Warmth of Other Suns, by Isabel Wilkerson, read by Robin Miles -- My other favorite book of 2017, this one non-fiction! This sprawling history book worked great read aloud, which makes sense, as the author did hundreds of oral history interviews to assemble the story of the Great Migration of Black Americans from the rural South in the 20th century. She chose one migrant's story to focus on for each decade of the height of the migration, and masterfully weaves those together with others' stories and the overall view. The result has the scope of Tolstoy but the intimacy of your oldest relatives telling stories -- but for me, as a white American, stories I'd never heard, texture and weight on the bare paragraphs of a history book. (Plus, read by the divine Robin Miles!)

    • Listened to it, loved it. The captain himself narrates it and I thought that made it very authentic.

      However, I think the management problem he's solving is different from Silicon Valley where I work, or Hollywood. When I came to Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs lectured us about the job not being about getting the best out of normal people. It's about finding the best person in the world, not the second-best, and hiring them.

      The captain was dealt a hand of sailors and he did an amazing job of getting them to perform incredibly well. His job wasn't to go find the best sailor in the world so they can win the world championship, or design the Mac or win an Oscar.

      Netflix has an amazing HR doc that the Harvard Business Review featured where Netflix likens themself to a sports team. Each year you have to fight to make the team next year. The reward for adequate performance is a generous severance package.

    • I’ve worked for Fortune 500s, as well as in the government and nonprofit sectors, and I would agree with your assessment.

      I remember doing a project at a division of a high tech company and one of our managers complained to the VP of Engineering about the wasteful spending in providing catered lunches on a regular basis. The VP calmly explained the math: for five bucks a head during meetings held over lunch, he got an extra hour of work from an engineer making $45/hour.

      By contrast, when schools provide dinner to teachers on parent teacher conference nights, which is three hours of additional work after a full day of teaching, the typical fare I’ve seen can be a pot of hot dogs.

      In addition, at a typical school the only employee making $45/hour or better is the principal.  And turnover for school principals is almost as bad as for teachers:

      Elsewhere in Texas, the first school to be closed by the state for low performance was Johnston High School, which was led by 13 principals in the 11 years preceding closure. The school also had a teacher turnover rate greater than 25 percent for almost all of the years and greater than 30 percent for 7 of the years.


      @lidja can probably speak most authoritatively on the talent acquisition and retention challenges in the non-profit sector.

      In environments where it’s much harder to attract top talent, I think the need for managers who can train, develop and get the best out of passionate individuals is crucial.

      In an alternate reality, Elon Musk’s tenure as a high school principal would be short-lived.

    • @lidja can probably speak most authoritatively on the talent acquisition and retention challenges in the non-profit sector.

      A surprising thing to many people not familiar with the world of non-profits is that development officers (professional fundraisers) are often paid on a higher scale than nearly everyone else on the staff, including top-level administrators. So, an equivalent to “talent acquisition” in the for-profit sector is probably “access acquisition” in the non-profit sector, since access to philanthropic dollars is an absolutely critical piece of a non-profit’s ongoing success.

      Thanks to @Chris’ comment about Steve Jobs’ employment policy, we see the psychology behind the poaching that is sooo prevalent in Silicon Valley. I personally think the idea that there is *one* person in the world that is *best* for any given job is mostly BS, but Silicon Valley seems to love that kind of “tip of the spear” thinking. It is pervasive. (On a related note, I have never seen so much dysfunction as when I served on the board of The Tech Museum. The self-interest at all levels of that organization was unfathomable, but reflected the reality of the way things are done in the Valley.)

    • I don't want to believe in the one person philosophy, but I have to admit that I've lived through a couple times where I've thought, "but for that one person..." It was John Lasseter at Pixar. I don't see how the Mac happens without Bill Atkinson. I don't see how Apple turns around without Steve.

    • ...from the long view, though... do you really believe there would be no CGI animation without John Lasseter? No digital music storage devices without Jobs? No creative computing without Atkinson?

      These people were in the right place at the right time with their particular skill sets to give us *what we now have*... but their accomplishments were all results of the work that many, many people did before they came along and alongside them as well as their own Herculean efforts and vision.

      However, the savior narrative is what a LOT of us prefer to believe...

    • I honestly think I prefer to believe that each of us has the power within us and with enough determination a team of regular people can accomplish amazing things. Those make for great, inspirational stories and they're actually true in the case of John Lassiter (fired from Disney as an animator), Jobs (not a standout until Apple), etc.

      And I do think great computing an animation would have happened anyway without them. But would we have Pixar without Lassiter? Apple without Jobs? I honestly don't think we would.